Los Angeles Times Book Prizes Winners Announced

Book Prizes

Luis J. Rodriguez, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Adam Schiff among honorees


The 42nd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes were awarded tonight at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium. The Book Prizes are committed to literary excellence, championing new voices and celebrating the highest quality of writing from authors at all stages of their careers.

The ceremony recognized 12 outstanding literary works published last year. Luis J. Rodriguez was honored with the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement, and Reginald Dwayne Betts received the Innovator’s Award for his work advocating for literacy in prisons through increasing access to books, writers and performing artists. A complete list of this year’s Book Prizes winners follows.

2021 Book Prizes Winners

  • Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction: Jackie Polzin, “Brood: A Novel,” Doubleday
  • Biography: Paul Auster, “Burning Boy: The Life and Work of Stephen Crane,” Henry Holt & Co.
  • Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose: Deborah Levy, “Real Estate: A Living Autobiography,” Bloomsbury
  • Current Interest: Adam Schiff, “Midnight in Washington: How We Almost Lost Our Democracy and Still Could,” Random House
  • Fiction: Véronique Tadjo, “In the Company of Men,” Other Press
  • Graphic Novel/Comics: R. Kikuo Johnson, “No One Else,” Fantagraphics
  • History: Ada Ferrer, “Cuba: An American History,” Scribner
  • Mystery/Thriller: Megan Abbott, “The Turnout: A Novel,” G.P. Putnam’s Sons
  • Poetry: Diane Seuss, “frank: sonnets,” Graywolf Press
  • Ray Bradbury Prize for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Speculative Fiction: Zen Cho, “Spirits Abroad: Stories,” Small Beer Press
  • Science & Technology: Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, “The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred,” Bold Type Books
  • Young Adult Literature: Rita Williams-Garcia, “A Sitting in St. James,” Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins Children’s Books

For more information about the Book Prizes, including the complete list of 2021 finalists and previous winners; eligibility and judging information; and how to make a tax-deductible donation in support of the annual literary awards, go to

The Book Prizes ceremony is a prologue to the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, the nation’s largest literary and cultural festival, which brings together more than 500 writers, musicians, artists and chefs, hundreds of exhibitors and an estimated 1500,000 attendees each year. The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books is presented in association with USC. Festival of Books news and updates are available on the event website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram feeds (#bookfest).